A romcom set in Summer, the movie delivers the comedy aspect with flying colors but the character arc seems to be stuck somewhere else.
Maybe This Time is a narrative that tries hard on telling a story that it has somehow forgotten to make the characters more human.
From the start, they try to establish that the two leads are meant to be together despite the little to none reasons at all.
Seven years ago, Steph (Sarah Geronimo) goes on an outreach program to teach English in the province where she meets Tonio (Coco Martin). Eventually they fall in love but things get in the way and they don’t succeed at officially becoming lovers. Hence the “there was never an us!” quote from the trailer.
In present, Steph bumps into Tonio again. Now in the field of public relations, Steph was tasked by her boss who is apparently Tonio’s girlfriend, Monica (Ruffa Gutierrez) to transform him into becoming a member of the higher social class. As Tonio and Steph spend time together, old feelings resurface. Then begins the angle of love triangle, to which the movie starts to sound like a joke. Monica’s character was portrayed horribly, fulfilling only selfish desires to the man whom she professes to be in love with. It’s actually not hard to see that she’s not a major contender in the love triangle, making it easy for everyone to root for the better and more obvious choice despite Tonio’s relationship status.
The plot has no solid tension. The obstacles were resolved only by revealing telenovela-like hurdles. It’s a story that pushes the notion of desiring a happily ever after without the much needed effort. Offering the pains and joy of first love, it fluctuates the tone it want to convey by showing a romanticized idea of change without much growth.
More so, it felt unnecessary to experience things through a voice over that is reminiscent to an MMK episode (which is actually the movie director, Jerry Lopez-Sineneng’s usual platform). It’s a technique that suits the TV program’s needs more than that of the movie.
Building a compelling plot and sympathetic characters is the challenge of creating this kind of genre –something that Sarah Geronimo’s past blockbuster films have proved to be successful in doing. With the recent success of Starting Over Again showcasing the first team up of Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual, it’s likely hard for this movie to surpass or even come close to its success.
To its credit though, the chemistry of the two leads’ first team up on the big screen is fine. With his smile, jologs wackiness, and chivalry, Coco Martin proves he’s also got the chops for natural comic relief while Sarah Geronimo’s infinitely likable charm worked well with her touching drama scenes. Unfortunately, it is not the same for Ruffa Gutierrez who is a pain to watch. Her character felt like it belonged to an alternate reality, one wherein she lives as a villain just for the sake of it. Devon Seron was also spotted, just a brief seconds with no lines delivered making her role entirely disposable.
This film made me laugh a lot of times especially with scenes involving Ogie Diaz, who did a remarkable task being a third wheel slash daily source of reality bites. The comic relief provides a smooth flow to the narrative, making you forget how bad the character sketches are.
Maybe This Time is a material you would be interested to watch probably because of the fresh pairing but their characters play the waiting game much, without any hard decision-making involved due to their capacity to do things just because.
All in all, the film is not a story about second chances; it’s more of a story about the chances that took them so long to take.